Archdiocese of Dublin – Safeguarding Children
I welcome today’s publication of Child Safeguarding and Protection - Policy and Procedures by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. Preventing any child from coming to harm is just as important as doing the right thing once a concern about a child, or someone who may be a danger to children, has been raised. In this regard I welcome the commitment to create and maintain safe environments for children who are involved with Church activities by providing relevant training to all Diocesan staff and volunteers, developing materials to assist parishes and Diocesan agencies and carrying out audits of parishes and agencies to ensure they are compliant with best practice.
I also welcome the commitment within the Dublin Archdiocese to ensure that all Child Protection Policies and Practices are compliant with the State’s Children First Guidelines, this indeed is a requirement of Children First.
I note that it is practice in the Dublin Archdiocese to report ‘all child protection concerns to the HSE and An Garda Siochana’ – nothing short of this standard is acceptable from any Diocese in the country, and it would be of some use if each Catholic Diocese in Ireland could confirm that this standard is shared.
It is worth pointing out that the State’s Child Protection Guidelines, Children First are still only guidelines, there is no legal requirement on anyone to follow them and this is a situation which has to change. In this regard I welcome the commitment of Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald to introduce legislation to put the Children First Guidelines on a statutory basis and to introduce Certification in Children First. I would also welcome the introduction of a system of independent audit of compliance with Children First.
END - 14/04/2011